Battle-Tested Hogs Get Missouri State Next

FAYETTEVILLE — The difference between this year's Arkansas baseball team and some Razorback squads in the past is quite simple, the way coach Dave Van Horn sees it. The 2009 Hogs have simply refused to quit.

"This team, boy it battles now," Van Horn said. "It just seems like this team always feels like it's in the game. And I think that started from early in the season against Washington State, against California with two outs and nobody on we get hit by a pitch and get a homer and then win it in extra innings.

"So we've been through it and I think the early scheduling has helped us some. Not so much as in winning a game, but it's just no different in conference play from what we've seen."

Arkansas is 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time in school history and has recorded back-to-back three-game sweeps in league play for the first time since 1999. With such an impressive start, the national voters have taken notice as the Razorbacks have moved into the Top 10 in several polls and jumped to No. 14 in the latest Baseball America poll.

"It's always nice being ranked," Van Horn said. "It's probably more for the fans than really our team.

"Our team is focused on each weekend and each game and I've said I just want this team to get better each week. And I've seen this team get better and obviously we've gotten more confident with the wins."

Before the Razorbacks (16-4, 6-0) can build more on their SEC resume, they'll have to take care of some midweek business at 6:35 p.m. today when Missouri State visits Baum Stadium. And just like most other nonconference games before this one, the Bears (11-10) should present Arkansas with another tough test heading into another weekend of conference action.

"Missouri State is a hot team coming in," Van Horn said. "They have a tough start, but they had some high expectations and it looks like they've gotten it together. They're starting to win, they swept Bradley last week and it's a big game for us trying to keep the momentum going from last weekend."

Arkansas will start Brett Eibner (1-2, 5.59 ERA) while the Bears are expected to toss J.C. Casey (1-1, 3.77). Eibner has made four starts this season but has only thrown 9 2/3 innings overall.

"We really just want a couple of innings (from Brett) and we'll try to piece that thing together," Van Horn said. "Just really whatever it takes to hopefully get a win and move onto Friday."





TODAY'S TICKET



MISSOURI STATE AT NO. 14 ARKANSAS

WHEN: 6:35 p.m., today

WHERE: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville

ON THE AIR: KFAY 1030 AM; KURM 790 AM, 100.3 FM; KHGG 1580 AM, 103.1 FM; KXIO 106.9 FM

RECORDS: Missouri State 11-10; Arkansas 16-4

SERIES RECORD: Arkansas leads, 45-20

LAST MEETING: Razorbacks won, 14-6 on April 30, 2008 in Fayetteville

PROBABLE PITCHERS: Missouri State, J.C. Casey (1-1, 3.77 ERA); Arkansas, Brett Eibner (1-2, 5.59 ERA)

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